24 hours in Copenhagen

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The capital of one of the world’s happiest nations, Copenhagen has a unique ability to delight its visitors thanks to its petite size, its enviable sense of style, and its world-class food scene.


Canalside houses

Then there are its impressive green credentials. While Denmark aims to become carbon neutral by 2050, Copenhagen plans to get there by 2025, and already leads the way in its provision of green hotels, shops, and transport options, as well as many completely organic dining options and products. It’s no surprise that the Danes want to preserve what nature has afforded them. After all, this is a nation – and a city – that’s about being outdoors. After spending months hibernating in their apartments while outside all is darkness and snow, Copenhagen’s inhabitants notoriously rush to lie around in its elegant parks, city beaches, and harbour swimming pool at the faintest hint of sunshine. The upshot of this is that, from April through to October, the city has an extra appealing vibe.

Head to Christianshavn and brave the queue at coffee spot Sweet Treat. Breakfast on boiled eggs and rye bread, or take a pastry and wander the canals, nosing around the houseboats.

Ascend Vor Frelsers Kirke’s brown-and-gold spire. The last 150 steps are on the outside of the tower, with a breathtaking view that includes the Denmark-to-Sweden Øresundsbroen (Øresund Bridge).

Take the Metro to Nørreport and cross Dronning Louises Bro to Nørrebro. Rummage for your own design classic on Ravnsborggade, a street of shops filled with flea market finds.

Pay a visit to Hans Christian Andersen, who rests in peace at the beautiful Assistens Kirkegård along Nørrebrogade. For a quick glimpse of this restful spot, walk the main Poppel Allé.

Lunch on smørrebrød (open sandwiches) at Aamanns, whose revival of the tradition has led to it becoming the place to sample the staple – they’re inventive, and made entirely of seasonal ingredients.

See the city from the water. Canal tours weave from Nyhavn through the canals and across the open harbour for glimpses – and guide-delivered tidbits – of sights such as Amalienborg Palace, the Little Mermaid, and Operaen Christiania.

Having walked up the city’s famous Strøget pedestrian street to Royal Copenhagen and Illums Bolighus, browse Danish design pieces from classic china to contemporary chairs.

Take the side streets from here towards Rådhuspladsen (Town Hall Square), starting up Læderstræde to check out its myriad independent boutiques and have a reviving kaffe og kage (coffee and cake) in one of its cafés.

Spend the evening at Tivoli, the world’s second oldest amusement park and home to flower gardens, lakes, pavilions, lights, music, theatre, and rides. Enjoy a dusk amble before dining on hearty Danish fare at Restaurant Grøften.

Party in the Meat-packing District – once home to Europe’s highest concentration of butchers, Kødbyen is where the coolest bars and galleries are found. Head to Karrierebar for cocktails, before dancing into the wee hours next door at Jolene.

Copenhagen, Denmark
Distance: 4,748 km
Flight Time: 6 hours, 45 minutes
Frequency: Daily

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